In a letter addressed to all leaders of the European institutions participating in the upcoming COP26, the President of COMECE, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, urges the European Union to play a leading role at the international level for a bold response to tackle the climate emergency: “finding a pathway likely to respect the 1.5°C threshold for global warming is a profound moral imperative”.
In the context of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow on 31 October–12 November 2021, H. Em. Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ calls on the EU leaders participating in the event to accelerate climate action and to promote a holistic care of our Common Home.
“The COVID pandemic has brought to light the fact that everything is interconnected and interdependent and that our health is inextricably linked to the health of the environment in which we live” – the letter reads.
“The Earth cries out – reminded Cardinal Hollerich – and those cries have taken the form of soaring temperatures with records being broken across many regions; of deadly floods and wildfires devastating communities across Europe and the world; of material loss compounded by social and psychological trauma.”
Moreover, in this period of global transformation, Europe has a responsibility to respect, protect and promote the rights and dignity of people, not least those in the most vulnerable and marginalised situations.
According to the Cardinal, for the leaders of the EU the UN Conference represents an opportunity to make a difference when meeting other world leaders. “COP26 and COP15 represent critical moments to achieve new ambition. Europe alone – Card. Hollerich states – will not resolve the ecological crisis, but Europe can and should play a leading role at the international level in these upcoming fora: finding a pathway likely to respect the 1.5°C threshold for global warming is a profound moral imperative”.
The letter includes the following concrete requests forwarded to the European leaders:
- Increase ambition: update near-term national targets on climate and biodiversity action to reflect Europe’s fair national share of the global effort to deliver on a 1.5° C limit to warming, and a new global goal of 50% protection of nature;
- Fullfil promises ensure delivery of existing finance commitments and agree new targets to support adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage in developing countries;
- Catalyse transformation: stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and redirect destructive subsidies towards socially responsible renewable energy and agro-ecological farming approaches;
- Prioritise rights: reaffirm and respect obligations to protect and respect human rights, including the rights of indigenous people and local communities in climate and biodiversity action.
The initiative for this letter was carried out by the European Laudato Si’ Alliance (ELSiA): an alliance of six Catholic institutions and organisations with the aim to adapt the comprehensive approach of the encyclical letter Laudato Si’ and related Church teachings to a European context with a special focus on the institutions of the European Union.
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich is the ambassador of the European Laudato Si’ Alliance.